The Goldendale Sentinel -


Goldendale robotics class earns trip to St. Louis


Andrew Christiansen

WOLFTECH: The Goldendale High School robotics class is shown with their robot. Pictured from left are Will White, Ben Hansen, Madi Wallis, Ricardo Valenzuela, Michael Blomquist, Weston Minniear, instructor Matt Merfeld, Matthew Blomquist, Scott Sherrett and Ben Wooden. Others not pictured are Miller White, Mitch Anderson, Noah Winters and Dillon Shattuck. The robot was sealed in plastic to prevent teams from making modifications between the regional and national events. The robot was to be shipped to St. Louis this week.

They may not have had the most successful robot in the competition, but “gracious professionalism in the pits” earned Goldendale’s Wolf-Tech robotics team a trip to St. Louis for the national competition.

This was Goldendale’s first year competing in the First Robotics Competition, an event that pits schools from around the country in a robotics educational event that is about half mechanical design/construction and half robotics programming using a program called Labview. The challenge this year was to build a robot that could toss Frisbee-like discs into target goals and ascend a pyramid. Each team began with a robot made from identical kits which were then modified and programmed by the students. The robots had size limitations and could not exceed 125 pounds. A $6,500 grant helped purchase the kit and pay for parts for modification. Grant money also paid for the three nights and days at Central Washington University where the competition was held among 50 teams. The students worked on the project for six weeks during class and as an extracurricular activity, which the students estimate to have taken an additional 300 hours of work.

Teams with the top three scores qualified for national competition. Goldendale was one of three additional teams selected based on other awards. Goldendale was chosen as the “Rookie All Star” team and were given the option to enter the contest which will be held April 24-27.

The students made the decision to compete in the national event which will require them to raise a substantial amount of money, perhaps $700 to $1,000 per student, according to estimates by Principal Clay Henry. The students will receive some help from the Goldendale High School ASB, but the school will not contribute to the trip.

During the next few weeks, students will be doing a variety of projects in the area to raise funds for the trip. Eight students will make the trip to St. Louis along with three adults.

The team members who will make the trip are Michael Blomquist, Matthew Blomquist (team lead programmer), Ben Hansen, Scott Sherrett, Madi Wallis (team safety officer), Will White, Miller White and Ben Wooden (team captain). Other members of the class at Goldendale are Mitch Anderson, Noah Winters, Ricardo Valenzuela, Weston Minniear and Dillon Shattuck. The instructor is Matt Merfeld and accompanying the team to Ellensburg were Daniel Blomquist, Denis Blomquist and Frank Wooden. Anyone who wants to help send the team to St. Louis can contact Merfeld at GHS, 773-5846.


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